Art and Activism: Visual Responses to Antisemitism

Art and Activism: Visual Responses to Antisemitism

Last week in the U.S., we saw a lot of antisemitic violence — synagogues vandalized and Jews threatened and attacked. After personal safety, the question for American Jews is how to persevere and process. What effect do these incidents have on our Jewish identities? What do we want to communicate about being a target? And how can we combine our artistic impulses with activism?

These three recent visual responses explore the overlap between art and activism, suggesting that we can engage with the complicated nature of being an American Jew in the face of past and current trauma.

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New Books from Jewish Women

This fraught week coincided with Shavuot, when we celebrate the gift of Torah. We might also celebrate millennia of Jewish literature. At CANVAS, we’re marking the occasion with three new books by Jewish women. They explore a range of topics — the AIDS crisis, comedy, family — with wit and insight. Happy reading! Let us know what you think.

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The Cosmic Reunion at DAWN

The Cosmic Reunion at DAWN

Beloved holidays have common ingredients. There are familiar melodies, recognizable symbols, and festive meals. Though Shavuot is significant in marking the ancient pilgrimage festival and celebrating the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah, it lacks the endearing traditions that lend others their appeal. Shavuot can be daunting to Jews who feel tentative about Hebrew texts and uncertain around matters of God and faith; after all, the holiday involves an overnight textual study that culminates with prayer and Torah reading at sunrise. 

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No More Making Shabbos Alone

No More Making Shabbos Alone

There is an old Yiddish saying that, like many old Yiddish sayings, is not a positive one: yeder makht shabes far zikh. “Everyone makes Shabbos for themselves.”

Art, like Shabbos, represents the separation between the everyday and the spiritual, between the ordinary and extraordinary. We celebrate alone if we must. But we flourish in the presence of others who share our values and our vision. 

This is why we are so heartened by the arrival of a new film fund, Jewish Story Partners (JSP).

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Download Your “Dwelling” Companion Book

Download Your “Dwelling” Companion Book

We are pleased to share with you this gorgeous companion to Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, a Jewish creative response to the real-world plagues of our time.

This coast-to-coast offline/online exhibition involves dozens of museums, public sites, and online platforms.

Dwelling in a Time of Plagues invited ten artists and ten writers to respond to two questions: What has most plagued you in this year of plagues? What has liberated you? 

The companion text collects some of their compelling responses, as well as invites you to tackle these questions at home.   

Dwelling is the brainchild and production of five Jewish cultural networks: Asylum ArtsThe Council of American Jewish MuseumsLABAThe Jewish Book Council, and Reboot

CANVAS is proud to support a collaboration in which so many creatives have come together to elevate the field, one another, and all of us.

Introducing the CANVAS Compendium

Introducing the CANVAS Compendium

CANVAS works to achieve a 21st-century Jewish cultural renaissance through grantmaking, advocacy, and education. The brand-new CANVAS Compendium is part of this effort — a newsletter designed to convey the highest quality and remarkable diversity of contemporary Jewish creativity.

Each week we will share with you a few of our favorite projects and practitioners. We’ll keep it brief, and we’ll make sure it’s highly curated, but we predict you’ll be amazed by how energized the field is.

For example, the striking image above is from Golem: A Call to Action by L.A.-based artist Julie Weitz. As part of Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, a CANVAS-funded exhibition for Passover 2021, Julie will bring her Golem to Boston’s Vilna Shul, as well as to Jewish museums in Florida and San Francisco

We hope you’ll stick with us to see what else is in store. 

Sign up to get it in your inbox each week.

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